InediSpirou reported last week that Téhem has now finished drawing the first 43 pages (out of an estimated 65) of La grosse tête (“The Big Head”), the one-shot he is making with Makyo and Toldac.
Actually, let’s have a proper rundown of all the (known) upcoming one-shot albums.
… and let’s start with the ones that are definitely in progress:
La Femme léopard (“The Leopard Woman”), previously Le Fétiche des Marolles (“The Marolles Fetish”)
Schwartz & Yann
The first album in line has already finished its pre-release serialization in the Journal de Spirou (where it initially ran under the title Le fétiche des Marolles), and is set for release at the beginning of May. A sequel to Le groom vert-de-gris (“The Field-Gray Bellhop”), the plot revolves around the hunt for an African figurine through Brussels and France, which has Spirou and Fantasio tangling with underground Nazis, an African secret society and a gang of gorilla robots. The story is meant to be continued in a future volume (or volumes); see below.
Like some of the previous one-shots, it will also be released in a Brussels-dialect version, under the title Le fétichke du Kongo (“The Congo Fetish”).
La Grosse tête (“The Big Head”)
Téhem, Makyo & Toldac
This project was first announced a number of years ago, but was pushed back repeatedly for rewrites and revisions. With the latest progress update, we can predict that it should finally be ready for album publication towards the end of the year or the beginning of 2015, if there’s room in Dupuis’ publication schedule (specifically, if it doesn’t clash with the release date for the next regular Spirou album by Yoann & Vehlmann, which should be complete at around the same time).
As previously reported, the story is about what happens when some of Spirou and Fantasio’s classic adventures, including La mauvaise tête (Spirou #8, the title can be loosely translated as “Wrong-Headed”) and Le prisonnier du Bouddha (Spirou #14, “The Prisoner of the Buddha”), are filmed, and the two heroes become movie stars. As the title hints, their status apparently goes to their heads.
Further, we’re told that Seccotine and the Count of Champignac will appear, and in the latest update, InediSpirou also reveals that part of the adventure takes place in Bretzelburg, the setting of Franquin’s classic Cold War fable QRN sur Bretzelburg (“QRN Over Bretzelburg”).
La Lumière de Bornéo (“The Light from Borneo”), previously L’Okapi blanc (“The White Okapi”)
Frank & Zidrou
Frank Pé is known for series featuring lots of exotic animals (Broussaille, Zoo), so it’s perhaps not surprising that this one-shot will bring back Noé, the marvelous animal tamer from Bravo les Brothers (who also appeared in a few albums in the Marsupilami series). Less predictably, it is also said to feature Ibn-Mah-Zoud, the billionaire sheik and world’s worst driver from Vacances sans histoires (“An Uneventful Holiday”).
This one-shot has also been in pre-production for years, but work apparently only really got fully underway relatively recently. The latest update was that Zidrou’s script (based on Frank’s original idea) is complete and projects a length of 78 pages, while Frank has drawn 13 pages in 3 months . At that rate, the album should be finished some time in 2015.
Mystère de Venise (“Mystery in Venice”)
Conrad & Arleston
Not much is known about this upcoming title. Originally announced in 2012 for release in 2013, it was pushed back when Conrad was hired as the new Asterix artist. Conrad had Spirou give his reaction in this sketch:
According to the most recent news, Arleston has completed the first part of the script (no doubt working from a general outline of the whole album), and Conrad is now working on the illustrations, but not with any great haste. The time to completion is still unknown.
Sequel to Journal d’un ingénu
As previously reported, Émile Bravo is finally working on a sequel to Journal d’un ingénu (“The Diary of a Naive Young Man”). The continuation is conceived on a grand scale as two volumes of about 100 and 60 pages, respectively, making it by far the longest single Spirou adventure.
Bravo describes it as ” the story of how a child becomes a hero to other children”, and implies that it will take place during WWII. No real details are known beyond that, and Bravo cautions that “it won’t be out tomorrow.”
Le Maître des hosties noires (“The Master of the Black Hosts”)
Schwartz & Yann
Not to be outdone, Yann decided to make his own one-shot sequel a multi-volume work as well. The ending of La femme léopard strongly implies a “to be continued”, and the duo reportedly intend to extend the adventure for at least another album, and possibly two. Update: According to a note at the end of the album version of Le femme léopard, the title of the sequel will be Le maître des hosties noires (“The Master of the Black Hosts”, where “hosts” refers to communion bread; the title is probably a reference to ritual cannibalism).
However, it’s unlikely that they have actually started working on it yet, and their opportunity to do so may depend on the success of La femme léopard. There has also been some talk that they would first do Crazy Belgians, the follow-up to the biographically inspired Gringos Locos, dealing with the further adventures of Jijé, Morris and Franquin in America, as they cross paths with a certain Frenchman by the name of Goscinny…
There is no doubt more to come from this partnership, whatever it turns out to be exactly.
Dany & Yann
Yann also has a finger in another one-shot pie, this one to be drawn by Dany. Rumored since their three-pager in last year’s anniversary issue, the project was recently confirmed by Dany, who is apparently now doing sketches and studies to find his own take on the characters.
Since Yann is pretty blatantly a Spirou/Seccotine ‘shipper, as evidenced in Le tombeau des Champignac (“Tomb of the Champignacs”) and Aux sources du Z (Spirou #50, “The Origins of the Z”), and since Dany in later years is most known for drawing busty women with few or no clothes, it is somewhat worrying to hear that Seccotine will play a major part in the album. Certainly the version of her that appeared in their short story had been given substantial silicone injections.
We shall see if Yann and Dany can resist the urge to Barbiefy the character. My hopes are not high.
La Théorie des dominos (“The Domino Theory”)
Christopher & Presing + various Pixar artists
A better showcase for Seccotine as a character might be potentially be the first part of La théorie des dominos, an episodic adventure that is supposed to focus on different characters from the Spirou universe. The first episode starts with Seccotine receiving an online friend-request from Zorglub, which seems to wipe out all electronic traces of her identity when she accepts it. As the adventure unfolds, the point of view shifts in turn to Fantasio, Zorglub, the Count of Champignac, Spirou and Spip.
All seven 8-page episodes are supposed to be written by Christopher Longé, and illustrated by various Pixar artists: Bill Presing (who, to be fair to Dany, also draws a lot of scantily clad women) for the first part, and with Ted Mathot, Ronnie del Carmen and Pascal Campion mentioned as some of the other contributors.
La théorie des dominos was conceived as a launch title for the digital magazine Spirou.Z, which was supposed to start publication last October. With the delay of that platform, there has been no news of the series for almost a year, but since there’s been some progress on Spirou.Z recently, perhaps we will hear more about it soon. Or perhaps the project has fallen through in the mean time.
According to the original announcement, the whole thing would be collected on paper as a Spirou one-shot after its run in digital format.
Hardy & Zidrou
We’re now over into more speculative projects. The second one-shot scripted by Zidrou, this one illustrated by Marc Hardy, is said to be the story of when Spirou first fell in love, set in the East (Soumaya is an Arabic name) and a reflection over his status as a celebrity and hero. Test pages (which won’t be used in the final album) show him being interviewed about his autobiography and confronted with certain omissions therein.
Originally announced in 2010 and supposed to be released that year, the last news was a reassurance in 2012 that it had not been canceled; it was featured in the “Spirou passed from hand to hand” exhibition in 2013.
Fantasio quitte la maison (“Fantasio Moves Out”), previously Spirou et les femmes (“Spirou and the Women”)
All we know about this proposed album is from the “Spirou passed from hand to hand” exhibition blurb: “In this story, Spirou is to encounter a group of particularly scheming women who make every effort to put this specimen of the stronger sex to the test. Probably his most harrowing adventure.”
Fondation Z (“Foundation Z”)
Lebeault & Filippi
Finally, about this project (also featured at the “Spirou passed from hand to hand” exhibition) we know nothing at all, apart from the rather obvious fact that it features Zorglub. All we have to go on are the sketches.
Rumored, Canceled and Rejected Projects
Those are the projects that have been announced in some way or another, and as far as we know are still going on. On top of these, there are a number of projects that have been canceled, were proposed and rejected, or were only rumored in the first place, including albums by Serge Clerc & Jean-Luc Fromental, Philippe Capart & Vehlmann, Daan Jippes, Félix Meynet, Buchet & Morvan, Alfred & Chauvel, Batem & Colman, Stanislas & Le Gall, Stanislas & Trondheim, Pascal Barret, Larcenet & Ferri, Thierry Martin, Gazotti, Schuiten, Krings & Lapuss, Léturgie & Léturgie, Ian Dairin, and Stéphane Louis & François Corteggiani. Most recently, Arthur de Pins said he had an idea for a one-shot…
As that long list of failed or stalled projects (some of which were touted as definite albums at one time or another) demonstrates, a one-shot album isn’t a sure thing until it’s actually in print. At the same time, some projects have been in development hell for years before they moved forward. Maybe some of these will come back to life as well!